About this recipe:Barley and celery add vitamins and minerals to this dish, while their textures enhance the delicate flesh and wonderful flavour of sea bass.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
200g (7oz) pearl barley
125ml (4fl oz) white wine or cider
1 litre (1¾ pints) fish stock
4 fillets sea bass, about 115g (4oz) each
25g (1oz) chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as parsley, chervil, chives, dill or rocket
Salt and pepper
40g (1½ oz) watercress
Add to shopping list
Turn this recipe into a shopping list you can print, email, view on your mobile or shop online. It's free! Powered by Whisk.com
Method Prep:5min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr5min
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the barley and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the wine or cider to the pan and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Add the fish stock, bring to the boil and cook, stirring frequently, for 40-50 minutes, until the barley is tender and the mixture is soupy. Add a little hot water if it is becoming too dry.
Shortly before the end of cooking, heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Brush an ovenproof skillet lightly with oil and place it over a high heat until very hot. Lightly season the sea bass fillets and place in the pan, skin side down, pressing down with a fish slice to sear the skin. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then transfer the pan to the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Add the herbs to the cooked barley and mix, adding salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the barley onto warmed serving plates and top with the roast fish. Serve with the watercress.
In place of sea bass, try gurnard, John Dory, mullet or salmon.